nailing jello

Lately, and quite often (ahem), I keep thinking of the saying, “Raising teenagers is like trying to nail jello to a tree.”  Maybe you would agree?  I remember the first time I read this quote.  I was heading home from work, before we had any kids, and read it on a church marquee.  I thought, “Haha!  How cute- that’s funny!”

Fast forward several years and here I am with three of our four kids now teenagers.  Day after day, I’m trying to nail that jello to the tree.  I still laugh at that analogy, but in a different kind of way.  I laugh at myself for thinking maybe I could actually do it… escape those notorious teen years of trial and prayer and skate through drama-free.  I could nail that jello on where it would be firm, intact, and stay put right where I wanted.  Uh-huh.  Yea.  No big deal.

jello box on tree

Technically, jello can be nailed to a tree.  But, it would have to stay in a box- safe from outside elements.  The thing is, that is not how jello is intended to be- all boxed up.  No necessary ingredients have been added to mix in, strengthen and mold it to it’s desired state.

jelloe cube on tree

So, let’s say we do away with the box.  Take the jello, add water, mix together and let it do it’s thing to firm up. It’s on it’s way to becoming a Luby’s-worthy cube of gelatin goodness.  Yes!  Just like I’d imagined.  I decide to give it a go, find a tree, and try to nail it on.  It may even stay in place for just a bit.  But, not long after, it begins to wiggle and shift and just can’t stay in that one place.  It gets a little sticky and a lot messy oozing out from the grip of the nail.

jello glob on tree

Today, this is where I find myself with raising teenagers. Parenting often feels like a gloppy mess.  I can try really hard to keep them safe in the box.  But that’s not how they were made to live.  I have to expose them to the things that will mold and shape them into the strong, Godly people I know they can be.  But they’re  going to test the water.  They’ll wiggle around, oozing out their independence to find their way… figuring out the right path to be on. It’s a necessary part of growth.  Just like the jello, it will get a little sticky and a lot messy.  I’d imagine every parent before me who has ever raised a teen would agree.

I need to remember our sweet teenagers aren’t meant to have things all figured out.  They need us.  I need to do my part to help these almost-adult young people figure out the person God is calling them to be.  I need to be patient with the process of how they shape and mold.   And, I need to always remember that there will be a mess.  It’s just a fact.  Things will get sticky.  That’s a natural side effect of them figuring out their own way.  And that’s okay.  Messy and sticky.  It’s what happens when you try to nail jello to a tree.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.”     -Proverbs 3:5-6

bible study partner

tess bible pic

Our sweet dog, Tess, hopped up in my lap this morning when I was doing my bible study.  She just planted her face right in my bible.  I think the best days start when I do the same thing.

Rarely do I sleep in these days.  I’m up early in the morning well before anyone else in the house is stirring.  It’s my own personal quiet time in a household of six.  I have really come to cherish that time and when I don’t get it, my day is just not the same.  It’s off-kilter.  I’m out of sorts.  I need His calming influence and words on my heart to set the tone for my day.  Even if that means sharing it with my pup.  The way she climbed up in my lap to get a little love from me is the same kind of affection I seek of Him.  I’m not going to find that hitting snooze or jump-starting my day with the news.  I’m going to find that same kind of embrace my seeking and talking to my Father.

Thank you, God, for early morning quiet.  Thank you for the coffee that goes hand in hand with it.  Thank you for breathing life through the words in my bible that often feel like you wrote them just for me.  Thank you for cheetah blankets and Shephard-mix doggies that help make my quiet time with you even more special.  Thank you for today. 🙂

 

 

pretty blue water bottle

ww water bottle

So, week 2 of ‪#‎weightwatchers‬ has happened. I love my new, pretty blue water bottle and am hoping it serves as a fun reminder to add more water to my day. That’s just not something I’m good at. I REALLY don’t like rules and restrictions with food. But, I decided it’s time for some accountability and thought WW may be a good fit. I have never been one to get too hung up with the number on the scale- it goes up some and it goes down some- and that’s okay. That’s life. Yet if my clothes start fitting a little more snug (which they were) and, more importantly, if I am regularly feeling a little more sluggish (which I was) then I know I need to make some changes. Over the last several days of being a little more mindful about it, I can already see where some daily habits were getting a little out of hand. My small handful of chocolate chips is not really reaping the health benefits of dark chocolate when it happens several times a day. Every. Day. 😁. (‪#‎thechocolatestruggleisreal‬). I see my choices improving. When I have healthy food ready and available, I’m more willing to choose that first. Rocket science, right? Bottom line is, I FEEL better. I am not hovering over the scale. I just don’t have the time or inclination for all that. What does matter to me is how much I plug in to life each day. I have more energy and am less distracted and I just feel more HERE. THAT is not a number. And that is SO worth it. When I committed to jazzercise, it made a difference in my fitness level. When I commit to bible study, it makes a difference in my faith walk. So, I decided to commit to this to help me get healthier. I’m much more likely to live out my purpose by being healthy and feeling good.  1 Corinthians 10:31- “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

mismatched socks

mismatched sock wearer

And this is what it’s come to. I’m officially a mismatched sock wearer. I’m battling three girls who fully embrace this style and raid my stash daily…. And my youngest is not far behind… So I’m throwing caution to the wind and going for it. Sock singles all the way for me from now on. Just pick two and go.  Laundry just got a whole lot easier.

And you know what?  Every time I look down at these non-OCD feet, I feel a sense of freedom.  I’ve surrendered.  Yes, it’s just socks.  But it’s also the mindset that got me to this place.   There’s joy in the not caring.  There’s contentment in knowing my feet are still protected.  And there’s gratitude knowing I am still able to walk, run, dance, and move.  Letting go of the socks has really taught me it’s okay.  Letting go can be good.  Surrender is where we are supposed to live.  I believe true joy waits for us there.

 

 

the blessing of health

health is blessing quote

True health is a whole thing.  I mean that in two ways.  It’s a WHOLE thing, holistically speaking.  We’ve got to live a life of balance to really live and thrive.  But it’s also a whole thing– as in it’s always something we are pushing after, something that we work at all day (realistically), and something that as days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, we are constantly tweaking to keep it all in balance.  A healthy body that can move and be active and that you nourish with real food- good food- that fuels and strengthens you… that’s where our physical energy comes from.  A healthy mind that thinks happy, positive thoughts and seeks joy as the root of how we live life… this takes energy and focus.  And we cannot forget our healthy spirit.  That internal gift that is a part of us and keeps us chasing after God- intentionally- not just when we get in a bind. A healthy spirit that urges us to dive into the Word- His word- to learn, pray, and always keep seeking Him. Our health IS a WHOLE thing. It’s a blessing- a gift we should nurture each day.  Let’s strive to THRIVE in mind, body, and spirit and go out and do good in this world.  ❤️ 3 John 2:  Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

little yellow flower

little yellow flower

As I stepped out earlier this week to take my daughter to school, I looked down and saw this dainty little flower. Most days I wouldn’t have given a second glance to the flowering weed coming up in the driveway crack (note to self: ‪#‎needroundup‬), but in that split second it really stopped me in my tracks.

This last week has been a tough one. We lost our oldest dog unexpectedly.  To say we are heartbroken is an understatement.  Pets are family and the grieving is real. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you haven’t experienced loss, but maybe illness or parenting or work stress is taking a toll. Seeing this sweet little flower growing and blossoming despite the cold, hard cement and brick that surrounds it spoke to me. It found a way to bloom even though its circumstances are less than ideal. And then I thought… When I am in a place that feels hard, do I grow? Or even blossom? Do I put my trust in God and forge ahead relying on His provisions… And His grace… to keep going, to keep growing… right where I am?

We CAN blossom through every circumstance in life. It doesn’t have to be the ideal, comfortable conditions that bring out our beauty and purpose. We can blossom in the hard times- trusting God when things seem out of our control and when we don’t understand the why. We can lean in on God so that we grow and thrive right where we are.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of this dainty driveway flower. Help me to blossom with Your grace and for Your purpose wherever you plant me- each and every day.

❤ Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.